Scottsbluff Public Schools changes COVID-19 emergency response strategy

SBPS has a new pandemic emergency response strategy moving into the 2021 Spring semester.
Published: Jan. 9, 2021 at 1:49 AM CST
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SCOTTSBLUFF, Neb. (KNEP) - Scottsbluff Public Schools has a new pandemic emergency response plan based on feedback from November’s parent and staff COVID-19 survey, SBPS announced Thursday.

Starting Spring semester 2021, Scottsbluff Public Schools will no longer categorize its COVID-19 response strategy by four distinct levels --green, yellow, orange and red, according to SBPS representatives. Instead, the school district will use a gradient approach. Scottsbluff Public Schools Superintendent Rick Myles says this will allow schools to adapt response strategies to more holistically reflect the COVID-19 conditions in the community. To date, the four tiered approach meant schools had to operate strictly within a specific categorized response strategy.

“Now is the perfect time for why the gradient is different,” Superintendent Myles explained. “We’re actually in the orange [level]. In this past week the Panhandle Public Health District moved us up a little closer to red, however, right now, we’re concerned about the potential of a post-holiday spike. We had all of our staff and students away for a couple of weeks and as everybody comes back together, we want to do everything we can to make sure there’s not an unexpected spike that, maybe if we’d been a little more careful, we could have avoided.”

Superintendent Myles says schools will require students to remain on campus during lunch hours to minimize their risk of contracting COVID-19 while getting food in public and bringing it back to their peers during the school day. SBPS is also keeping a cap on attendance at sporting events through at least the end of January. Superintendent Myles says the schools plan to reevaluate some current restrictions at the start of February.

“We’re really trying to balance reason and moderation with safety,” Superintendent Myles said. “We know that if schools stay in session, that’s going to help the entire region’s economy and let people continue to go to work rather than be home with their kids.”

In a new “At a Glance” section on the Scottsbluff Public Schools website, SBPS will provide an updated chronology of the school district’s response based on current COVID-19 conditions in the area.

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